Captain America: Civil War Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
It is friend versus friend, as our heroes are torn apart from the inside due to secrets that were kept and doubts arising from previously made decisions.
Genre: Action / Fantasy / Sci-Fi / Thriller
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Daniel Brühl, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp & Tom Holland.
Run Time: 147 min.
US Release: 03 May 2016
UK Release: 29 April 2016
German Release: 28 April 2016
Civil War might be Marvel’s biggest project to date, featuring nearly every hero that was previously depicted in another Marvel movie, but it also strays far from the comic book it is based on. A continuation of both, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron, this third Cap film is a fast-paced and well-directed action-thriller that sees our heroes needing to deal with the decisions made in previous stories. But is it worth watching in cinemas?
Before I get into detail about what I liked and didn’t, narrative-wise, I need to express my issue with making this a Captain America movie! It would have sufficed if the story would have just focused on Rogers and his search for Bucky Barnes, with Zemo and Tony Stark interfering. The ramifications of that story could have been dealt with an Avengers movie based on the Civil War comic books. As it stands now, the title of this superhero flick is misleading because, even though it is a continuation of The Winter Soldier storyline, this is clearly an Avengers story arc and not a Captain America one!
With that out of the way, let me start with the fact that I do like the narrative! I don’t find it mind-blowing nor do I think it was superior to The Winter Soldier, but it is definitely a good Marvel flick. The gritty and mature tone from the previous Cap film carries over on to this one, but instead of another spy thriller, the Russo Brothers directed an intense and fast-paced political thriller. It delves deeper into the psyche of our heroes, and not only deals with the aftermath of each battle the Avengers were present but pitches friends against each other, while the world is on the hunt for Bucky Barnes, to arrest him for his prior crimes. The epitome of this movie is the fight at the Berlin Airport, teased in the trailers since it is brutal as well as surprisingly hilarious.
However, this is not a perfect feature! At times it feels like it drags on for a bit but its biggest flaw must be the convoluted plot. The movie started out fine and is simple enough to follow, but somewhere around the middle, the story starts feeling incredibly packed and at times becomes difficult to follow. An example is the inclusion of Peter Parker; as much as I love the Spider-Man cameo, his introduction simply feels a little forced. Still, compared to Batman v Superman, which wasn’t able to juggle all of the different storylines well, these directors manage to balance the inclusion of all the characters and stories quite fine.
This movie has a large array of cast members and characters, which is why I will only focus on the main characters and newcomers to the franchise. That said, I also want to point out that the villain Crossbones is completely wasted, something I did not expect! Then there also is Elizabeth Olsen, who obtained more attention than I thought she would get but I really liked how they emotionally fleshed out her persona.
The main characters of this superhero flick are Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America and Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark/Iron Man, who are leading the two segments of the fractured Avengers. These friends bud heads when the Nations of the UN draft an accord for a governing body to oversee and direct the Avengers, after another incident results in more casualties. Chris Evans keeps portraying Cap as he did from the start and has a strong belief that the Avengers need to be free from the reigns of politics to save those people that need help. He makes it clear that he is a humanitarian not a politician. On the other hand, we have Downey Jr, who shows us a side of Tony that we never saw before. He is hurt; plagued by doubts about his actions as Iron Man and things he didn’t do in his youth.
Sebastian Stan returns as Bucky Barnes/The Winter Soldier and makes a fantastic rendition. This movie is, in fact, a continuation of his character’s story arc and delves deeper into Barnes’ history as the Winter Soldier, giving the character more depth. Stan makes a fantastic job, displaying his persona’s confusion and doubts about what he did under the influence of Hydra. He is trying to live a low-key life to escape his past, but it soon catches up with him, making Bucky realise that he can’t even trust himself.
Daniel Brühl portrays the villain Zemo and I am somewhat disappointed by his screen time and performance. Brühl is a fantastic German actor, able to transform into any character he is given but he really fails at capturing this villain’s essence. Zemo is depicted very different from his comic counterpart, a reason why Brühl might have some difficulty to believably portray that person, although, further reasons are his very weak plan of revenge and the very limited screen time he obtains in this movie.
Both newcomers, Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther and Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, are fantastic! Boseman sells his depiction of T’Challa well and his character has a good reason to go on the hunt for Bucky. Tom Holland must be the best Peter Parker and Spider-Man we have seen on the big screen, as of yet. The guy is smart but also clumsy and he always makes funny remarks during fights, just as Spider-Man does in the comics.
This is by far the best-looking Marvel movie to date! It features an electrifying cinematographic style by Trent Opaloch; reminiscent of a lot of spy-thrillers in the way it jumps scenes and introduces the viewer to new places around the world. The choreography and camera technique for the big battle is marvelous, leaving me floored at how good everything was captured. The best visual aspect of this movie, however, need to be the effects; both practical and computer generated are meshed together perfectly and make for a beautiful looking superhero blockbuster.
Verdict: Captain America: Civil War is definitely not Marvel’s best picture narrative-wise, and left me partially disappointed because of the misleading title. I still need to recognise that this is a really good written, directed, and shot film that features fantastic performances by the whole cast. I really like how Tony’s and Bucky’s past is presented to us, fleshing out both characters even more and Elizabeth Olsen surprised me with her fantastic rendition of Scarlet Witch. The weakest part of the plot is the villain and his motivation. My favourite aspect of this superhero flick is the cinematography, which was top notch. In the end, I find Civil War to be weaker than Winter Soldier but better than Age of Ultron, and it is worth seeing in cinemas. I will give this Marvel film a 9.0 out of 10!
Did you see the movie yet? Leave a comment below and let me know what you thought. Thank you very much for reading this review, and please subscribe it if you liked it. If you want to read more MCU reviews, scroll down to find links for: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Age of Ultron among others.